Japan launches blockchain app for remote state services

The Local Government Form Electronic Application (LoGo) allows residents to file for crucial government services from the comfort of their homes

Image of Kaga Onsen, a popular tourist destination in Kaga, Japan
The city has made an active effort to promote the digitalisation of services for its residents

Local authorities in Kaga City, located in the Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan, now use a blockchain-powered application called the Local Government Form Electronic Application (LoGo). The app will be in charge of running the city’s key administrative procedures.

According to a press release published yesterday, the app now “allows local government staff to quickly and easily create an administrative application form that is completed online without relying on a window, paper, or stamp, and allows residents to carry out administrative procedures with confidence from a smartphone”.

Local authorities have been working on the development of the LoGo app since May 2020, after Kaga City signed a partnership deal with Trust Bank and xID (previously known as Blockhive).

xID is a tech startup working for the creation of blockchain identity solutions, as a part of its overall vision to promote digitisation and automation of crucial processes to make these services more accessible despite a rapid decline in population and aging, as has been observed throughout the country.

In 2015, Japan released the My Number Card, which established itself as the nation’s social security and tax identity card. Kaga City worked to accelerate citizen adoption of the My Number Card by handing out gift certificates worth 5,000 yen (around $48.80) to all new applicants for the card.

Local government officials have revealed that so far the incentive has contributed significantly to their desired result, since the number of residents that have filed applications for the My Number Card now exceeds the number at the national level.

The team behind LoGo hopes that their blockchain application will cut down the time needed for residents to apply for certain government services as they now offer a viable alternative that can be accessed from their smartphones or PCs. By extension, the team also hopes that the LoGo application will enhance the efficiency of government work processes.

Beyond this initiative, it was revealed in June of this year that Japanese lenders are also looking at developing a variation of blockchain technology that would focus on digital payments’ interoperability.

According to Hiromi Yamaoka, a former executive of the Central Bank of Japan and the head of the study group, their main concern is to further encourage citizens to opt for cashless settlements, despite the variety of platforms that are already available in the country — many still choose to use cash. This solution would help enhance the interoperability of digital currencies and infrastructures.